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2003 News Releases

Department Of Homeland Security Response Teams Deployed To Iran To Assist Victims Of Earthquake
December 27, 2003 — The Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is providing emergency medical teams to assist the Department of State's response efforts to the earthquake in Iran. Two International Medical Surgical Response Teams (IMSuRT) arrived in Bam, Iran on Sunday.

One combination of AIDS drugs appears better for starting treatment
December 10, 2003 — One specific combination of anti-HIV drugs appears to be more effective for initiating therapy than other drug combinations tested in a large multi-institutional study.

Solitary pancreas transplant not associated with improved survival for patients with diabetes
December 2, 2003 — Patients with diabetes who received a solitary pancreas transplant appeared to have worse survival than patients on the transplant waiting list who received conventional therapy, according to a study in The Journal of the American Medical Association.
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Regeneration of insulin-producing islets may lead to diabetes cure
November 13, 2003 — Cells from an unexpected source, the spleen, appear to develop into insulin-producing islet cells in adult animals. This surprising finding from MGH researchers is a followup to the team's 2001 report of a treatment that cures type 1 diabetes in mice.

New Research Uncovers Potential Cure for Type 1 Diabetes: Islet Regeneration May Now Be Possible, According to Iacocca Foundation
November 13, 2003 —
Before this decade is over, doctors may be able to cure type 1 diabetes by encouraging the body to regenerate its own insulin-producing cells.

Teaching hospital physicians report trouble obtaining specialty services for the uninsured
November 12, 2003 — U.S. teaching hospitals are often considered key providers of health services to uninsured patients. However, a recent survey of teaching hospital faculty finds that such physicians may have difficulty accessing specialty care for their uninsured patients.

Outpatient pediatric visits good opportunity to help parents quit smoking
November 3, 2003 — Children's medical visits offer an excellent opportunity to counsel parents about their own smoking and offer smoking cessation services. However, U.S. pediatricians and family practitioners are not regularly discussing smoking with parents.

MGH announces new ALS research venture
October 31, 2003 — The MassGeneral Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease today announced a new research initiative against ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease). The program is designed to clarify how the disease develops and to develop potential new treatments.

Clays May Have Aided Formation of Primordial Cells
October 24, 2003 — Howard Hughes Medical Institute researchers have discovered that clays may have been the catalysts that spurred the spontaneous assembly of fatty acids into the small sacs that ultimately evolved into the first living cells.

Research collaboration identifies gene essential to puberty
October 22, 2003 — MGH researchers and collaborators from Britain have identified a gene that appears to be a key regulator of puberty in humans and in mice. The discovery could lead to new infertility treatments or contraceptive options, among other applications.

Study finds way to dramatically increase hematopoietic stem cells
October 22, 2003 — MGH researchers have found a novel way to significantly increase the production of hematopoietic stem cells in a mouse model, which could greatly increase the number of patients who could receive stem cell transplants for certain cancers.

New Protein Provides Clue to Diabetes
October 15, 2003 — Scientists say they've found a protein that plays an essential role in regulating a cell's ability to absorb glucose, an important step toward gaining a better understanding of the underlying causes of diabetes.

Close interaction seen between blood vessel development and fat tissue formation
October 2, 2003 — The physiological processes of angiogenesis, the growth of new blood cells, and adipogenesis, the development and growth of fat cells, are so closely interwoven that interfering with one also halts the other.

Statement regarding Luisa Duran, First Lady of Chile
October 1, 2003 — Mrs. Duran is currently in good condition and is expected to remain at the MGH for a week to 10 days. en espanol

Largest study to date finds radiofrequency ablation is best treatment for benign bone tumor
September 30, 2003 — Radiofrequency ablation should be the treatment of choice for most patients with a benign but painful bone tumor known as osteoid osteoma, according to MGH research.

MGH Sports Medicine Service teams up with Women's World Cup Soccer
September 25, 2003 — Thomas Gill, MD, of the MGH Sports Medicine Service, gets the nod as medical director for the 2003 FIFA Women's World Cup soccer tournament at Gillette Stadium.

Combining osteoporosis treatments does not produce better results
September 20, 2003 — Combining two currently available types of osteoporosis drugs does not improve bone density, according to a study by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Longer commute for cancer treatment associated with better survival
September 16, 2003 — Cancer patients who travel more than 15 miles for treatment appear to survive longer than patients who live closer to their treatment center concludes a study in the September 17 Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

State Department Names CIMIT, Boston, and ISTC, Moscow, to Take Lead in Focusing on Health Issues to Prevent Bioterrorism
September 16, 2003 — At the US Department of State's BioIndustry Initiative Press Briefing today, a $1.7 million contract to support collaboration between the Boston-based Center for the Integration of Medicine and Innovative Technology and the International Science and Technology Center, Moscow, was announced.

College students support smoking restrictions
September 16, 2003 — U.S. college students express strong support for tobacco control policies that aim to reduce cigarette smoking on college campuses, according to a new survey by researchers from MGH and Harvard School of Public Health.

Pancreatic cancer linked to developmental cell signaling pathway
September 14, 2003 — Scientists at MGH and the University of California at San Francisco have found strong evidence that a cell signaling pathway active in embryonic development plays a crucial role in pancreatic cancer.

Adequate anticoagulation level reduces stroke impact for patients with atrial fibrillation
September 10, 2003 — A research team from MGH and Kaiser Permanente of Northern California has shown that patients with atrial fibrillation who receive an appropriate level of anticoagulation therapy cut the risk that any stroke they have will result in death or serious disability.

American Nurses Association grants MGH highest honor in nursing
September 8, 2003 — The American Nurses Association today awarded its highest honor for nursing excellence - Magnet Nursing Services Recognition - to Massachusetts General Hospital.

Almost half of all faculty on Institutional Review Boards have ties to industry
August 14, 2003 — Medical school faculty members who serve on Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) have extensive research experience and knowledge, yet close to half also serve as consultants to industry, a situation that could lead to potential conflicts of interest.

Newer vitamin D formulation appears to help dialysis patients live longer
July 30, 2003 — Dialysis patients taking a particular intravenous vitamin D formulation have a significant survival advantage over patients taking an older and more commonly used form of vitamin D.

Study identifies factors increasing risk of psychosocial problems among disabled children
July 14, 2003 — Whether or not children with disabilities experience psychosocial problems is associated with the type of disability and the impact of the disability on the child's family, a new study finds.

MGH studies clarify diagnosis, identify possible treatment for adults with both ADHD and BPD
July 9, 2003 — Two studies from researchers at MGH address the challenges of diagnosing and treating individuals with both attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and bipolar disorder.

MGH/Timilty School Science Connection receives grant from HHMI
June 25, 2003 — Science Connection, a program designed to encourage middle school students to explore science as a possible career, has been awarded a major science education grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Response to new faces varies by temperament, tied to brain activity
June 19, 2003 — A key area in the brains of people who displayed an inhibited temperament as toddlers shows a greater response to new faces than does the same brain area in adults who were uninhibited early in life, according to a study by researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital.

Experimental imaging technique details spread of prostate cancer
June 18, 2003 — A study conducted at Massachusetts General Hospital and a Dutch hospital finds that an investigational advanced MRI technique may be able precisely to identify the spread of prostate cancer to lymph nodes.

International Team Uses Genomic Tools to Find Genes that Link Between Diabetes and Exercise
June 15, 2003 — In a multidisciplinary collaborative effort, scientists have used the power of integrative genomics to identify a set of genes that link exercise and the healthy metabolizing of simple sugars into energy - and find that the level of these genes is reduced in people with type 2 diabetes.

Haber selected as new director of MGH Cancer Center
June 4, 2003 — After an extensive search, Daniel Haber, MD, PhD, has been selected as the new director of the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Cancer Center.

Tight Glucose Control in Diabetes Lowers Risk of Atherosclerosis
June 4, 2003 — Strict glucose control in type 1 diabetes reduces the risk of atherosclerosis, a benefit that persists for years, according to a study published in the June 5, 2003 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

MGH physician, former colleague to receive Inventor of the Year award
June 4, 2003 — The 2003 Inventor of the Year award will be presented June 4 to Warren M. Zapol, MD, Chief of Anesthesia and Critical Care at MGH, and Claes Frostell, MD, PhD, of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden. The researchers are being honored for their invention of a system to safely deliver inhaled nitric oxide gas to treat a number of dangerous lung conditions.

Doctors miss chances to help pregnant women quit smoking
May 29, 2003 — Doctors are missing opportunities to help pregnant women quit smoking, a national survey reveals. "Although physicians frequently identified the smoking status of pregnant women, they did not often counsel smokers about quitting," says study author Susan Moran, M.D., of Massachusetts General Hospital.

Public health measures can contain SARS, two modeling studies suggest
May 23, 2003 — The SARS virus is contagious enough to cause a very large epidemic if left unchecked, but could nonetheless be controlled with rigorous public health measures, two research teams report. These results are being released today by the journal Science.

AIDS vaccine induces HIV-specific immune response in chronic infection
May 22, 2003 — A controversial vaccine against HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, has been shown to stimulate a critical part of the immune response in chronically infected patients. The small study finds that a vaccine made from an inactivated form of the AIDS virus induces the proliferation of immune cells that specifically target HIV.

Getting through the matrix: MGH research suggests strategies for improving drug delivery to cancer cells
May 18, 2003 — The physical structure of tumors can prevent anticancer agents from reaching their targets. In a new study MGH researchers describe a technique for assessing the permeability of tumors and a way of improving tumors' accessibility to drugs.

Study at Mt. Everest finds acetaminophen as effective as ibuprofen for high-altitude headache
May 14, 2003 — In a study conducted near the Mt. Everest Base Camp in Nepal, an MGH resident physician and his colleagues have found that acetaminophen is as effective as ibuprofen in treating high-altitude headache.

Study shows molecular analysis of early breast cancer lesions may be key to choosing best treatment
May 12, 2003 — A team of researchers from MGH and the biotechnology company Arcturus has discovered molecular changes occurring in early stages of breast cancer that characterize the aggressive potential of the tumor.

3D mammography shows promise as next breast screening technique
May 8, 2003 — “Full-field digital tomosynthesis is mammography - only better,” researchers say of a new technique that just might be the next generation of breast cancer screening.

Study recommends 50 percent reduction in CT radiation dose based on patient size and weight
May 8, 2003 — Results of a recent study show that the image quality of abdominal CT scans for certain cases is acceptable even when the radiation dose is reduced by 50 percent, says Mannudeep K. Kalra, MD, of Massachusetts General Hospital, lead author of the study.

Diffusion-weighted MR imaging accurately detects stroke
May 7, 2003 — Diffusion-weighted MR imaging is an accurate way to detect whether a patient has had a stroke - even 24 hours after the patient's initial symptoms began, a new study shows.

CT colonography method reduces radiation risk
May 7, 2003 — Results of a recent study reconfirm previously published data, suggesting that CT colonography can be performed with decreased radiography exposure to patients, says Michael Zalis, MD, of Massachusetts General Hospital, lead author of the study.

CT in the emergency room: Are CT examinations overused?
May 6, 2003 — Is CT overused in the emergency room to diagnose abdominal pain? Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston undertook one of the largest studies of its kind to find out.

MR imaging and new contrast agent effective in diagnosing testicular cancer spread
May 5, 2003 — MR imaging plus a new contrast agent is dramatically better than current techniques in determining if testicular cancer has spread, a new study indicates.

Researchers identify important function of NF2 tumor suppressor
May 1, 2003 — A research team based at Massachusetts General Hospital has identified a key cellular function of a protein known to be involved in the rare genetic disorder neurofibromatosis type 2.

FDA approval of drug-coated stents to have major impact on future of cardiovascular care
April 24, 2003 — Researchers at three Boston hospitals - Massachusetts General Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Brigham and Women's Hospital - hailed today's decision by the FDA to approve drug-coated stents for widespread use in cardiovascular care.

New Findings About Parkinson's Disease:
Coffee and Hormones Don't Mix

April 17, 2003 — Several large studies have shown that caffeine intake is associated with a reduced risk of developing Parkinson's disease in men, but studies in women have been inconclusive. A new study shows that hormone therapy is a possible explanation for the different effects of caffeine on PD risk in men and women.

MGH/BWH study identifies Alzheimer's- associated changes in the eye
April 10, 2003 — A research team led by investigators from Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women's Hospital has discovered that amyloid-beta, the protein that forms plaques in the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease, can also be detected in the lens of the human eye.

Factor identified that makes treating aging hearts with gene therapy difficult
March 3, 2003 — Scientists at Massachusetts General Hospital and their colleagues have found why older cardiac cells are more difficult to treat with gene therapy than younger cells.

Patients report direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical ads may lead to new diagnoses, other physician recommendations
February 26, 2003 — Direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs appears to be a powerful source of information that can affect patients' interactions with their physicians, according to a report issued by the journal Health Affairs.

Minimally invasive treatment successfully destroys kidney tumors
January 28, 2003 — An experimental treatment is proving successful in removing small kidney tumors from appropriate patients. In the February 2003 issue of Radiology, MGH researchers report how radiofrequency ablation destroyed renal cell carcinoma tumors less than 3 cm and some larger tumors, depending on their location.

Scientists identify hundreds of worm genes that regulate fat storage
January 15, 2003 — Scientists at MGH and their colleagues have scoured thousands of genes in the C. elegans worm and have come up with hundreds of promising candidates that may determine how fat is stored and used in a variety of animals.

MGH study supports protective effect of stimulant treatment for ADHD
January 6, 2003 — An analysis of all available studies that examine the possible impact of stimulant treatment for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder on future substance abuse supports the safety of stimulant treatment.

Child hospitalizations good time to get parents to stop smoking
January 6, 2003 — Children hospitalized for respiratory illnesses often suffer from second-hand smoke exposure caused by parental smoking. MGH researchers have found that those hospitalizations can be good times to address parental smoking and smoking cessation.